When one talks about preparing for the birth, the first things that spring to mind are antenatal care and decorating the nursery. Both are important in their own ways. Antenatal care is of the utmost importance for a healthy pregnancy and helps to prepare you for the birth, and decorating the nursery for the new arrival makes for some fun moments. While many antenatal classes give some advice on what is ahead after the birth, they often focus on the birth itself and overlook very practical tips, which, if offered early enough, could save parents hours of time and stress after their baby is born.
If you follow my routine from day one, you should have a content and happy baby, with some time for yourself. However, as you will see from my routines and charts, spare time is extremely limited (and believe me, mothers who are not following a routine have even less spare time). In this short amount of time, unless you have hired help, you will have to fit in the cooking of meals, shopping, laundry. By doing the following things before the baby is born, you will gain many hours of free time after the birth.
- Order all your nursery equipment well in advance. Cots can sometimes take up to 12 weeks to be delivered and there are many advantages in having a big cot from the beginning.
- Have all the bed linen, muslins, and ana towel washed and ready for use. Make up the cot, basket and pram. Prepare everything in the nursery, so it is at hand, the minute you get home from the hospital.
- Have the following baby essential in stock: cotton wool, baby oil, nappies and moisturising creams, baby wipes, soft sponges, baby brush, baby oil and baby shampoo.
- Check that all the electrical equipment is working properly. Learn how the steriliser works and how to put together feeding bottles.
- Arrange a section of worktop in the kitchen where preparation and sterilisation can be done. Ideally, it should be directly below a cupboard, where all the baby’s feeding equipment can be stored.
- Stock up on soap powder, cleaning materials and enough kitchen and toilet rolls to last at least six weeks.
- Prepare and freeze a large selection of healthy home-made meals for you and your husband. If you are breastfeeding, you should avoid the shop-bought ones that are full of additives and preservatives.
- Stock up on extra dry goods, such as tea, coffee, biscuits etc; it is inevitable that you will have extra visitors the first month, and supplies will soon go down.
- Purchase birthday gifts and cards for any forthcoming birthdays. Also, have a good selection of thank you cards ready to send for all the gifts you will receive.
- Get up to date with any odd jobs that need to be done in the house or garden. The last thing you need once the baby has arrived is the hassle of workmen making noise as they work.
- If breastfeeding, book your electric expressing machine well in advance; they are in huge demand! Ask your midwife for advice on how to do this.
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